July 16 (Reuters) – England’s coronavirus crisis could come back surprisingly quickly again and the country is not out of the woods yet, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said on Thursday before legal restrictions were lifted.
The government is removing most pandemic restrictions in England from July 19, saying a rapid rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has largely broken the link between infections and serious illness or death. Read more
Whitty said the hospitalization doubling time is currently around three weeks, and the low number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 could currently reach serious levels over the next two months.
“It doesn’t take a lot of doubles until we’re in some pretty scary numbers again… I don’t think we should underestimate the fact that we could be in trouble again surprisingly quickly,” Whitty said. during a webinar Thursday evening. hosted by the Science Museum.
“We’re not out of the woods on this point yet, we’re in much better shape thanks to the immunization program, drugs and a variety of other things. “
Britain has had one of the highest death rates in the world, but two-thirds of its adult population have been fully vaccinated.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson urges people to be careful as England moves to Stage 4 – the end of legal lockdown restrictions – on Monday. This means that the last businesses that are still closed, including nightclubs, can finally reopen.
Johnson acknowledges that a wave of infections and more deaths are inevitable when the restrictions end, but said the worst would be keeping the economy closed.
However, the self-isolation requirement for people exposed to positive cases could also hamper the economy, with more than 48,000 cases reported as of Thursday.
More than 520,000 contact tracing alerts were sent through the app in the week leading up to July 7, and Karan Bilimoria, president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said he’s was a very worrying situation.
“Monday, we are going to have a situation where on the one hand we open the economy, on the other hand we close the economy,” he told LBC radio.
“The hotel sector, 20% of the staff is isolated, the health service up to 25% of the staff is absent and buses and trains are delayed. It can’t go on … It destroys the economy. “
Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Alistair Smout in London Additional reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Karishma Singh / Guy Faulconbridge
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